Monday, August 30, 2010

The importance of giving blood...

So, I have had a very rocky road with donating blood. I remember as a kid, my dad would go, and I thought this was just so incredible. I mean, something as simple as the liquid running through your arteries and veins, can be used to help save another person's life!! Seems like such a selfless thing to do!! However, I also had this irrational fear of needles. I remember getting shots in school, and anytime blood needed to be drawn, my veins were not always the easiest to find. But, the day I turned 16, I was ready. Next time my dad went, I went with him. My blood got checked for type and I was in business. Except, somewhere in the middle of the whole thing, I began getting lightheaded and nauseous. It was not pretty. Needless to say, they stopped just short of a pint of blood. I was a semi-successful donor. Did not return for a long time. Then I lived in Florida for a bit, and the bloodmobile came to my workplace, so I decided to try again. Got refused once for low iron, donated successfully twice, and a third time had to stop partway through (back to that fainting light headed thing again). Grrrrr... Oh well, when I got back to Canada, I tried again, and once again, was stopped partway through. This time, they banned me, for life. I was sad.

You see, I really really wanted to be successful, but this stupid irrational fear played mind games with me, and prevented me from success. Well, after I had an emergency c-section to deliver my very sick preemie baby, I wanted to try again. I had to do many blood samples while pregnant and survived a surgery so figured it was worth it. Even more important though, was the fact that my little son, born weighing not even 2 pounds, needed blood. And, over the course of his very rocky beginning, he ended up using 12 different donations, from 9 different people. Think about it. If those people hadn't taken time out of their day to do make those donations, my son would not be with us today. What they did, helped to save his life. He wasn't making his own blood yet, and without the donations, wouldn't have had the ability to deliver oxygen throughout his body. This simple act, by these people, is part of the reason my son is with us today. That is a big deal. It's a huge deal. Every time I hug Sebastian, I am so grateful he's with us. And knowing that complete strangers helped make that happen, made me want to once again try to donate blood. After all, it saved his life!!

So, I called Canadian Blood Services, and asked if I might get a chance to try again. They said sure, and the very next week, I went to a clinic to try. And I was rejected. This time, because I was breastfeeding, and needed the blood for that purpose. Grrrrrrr... and then I was pregnant again and breastfeeding again.

Fast forward to this weekend. I'd been intermitently checking the Canadian Blood Services website to see when they might be close by to try again, and knew they were going to Cardel (the recreation centre by our house). I decided to be brave and go. I drank extra juice in the morning, and headed over. Jeremy was kind enough to take the kids to Costco and let me go (thank you so much!!). So off I went, with The Book Of Awesome to read, while I donated (figuring reading about feel good things could only make donating go well). I was nervous, but excited. I wanted to succeed more than anything. I filled in the mountains of paperwork, answered all the questions, and soon I was waiting to donate. Again, was a bit nervous, but kept thinking of the good that could come of it. She got me all set up, and was super nice. I had an extra juice. And soon, the needle was in and the blood was flowing. And I read my book. And it was great. Soon enough, it was over, and not once did I feel lightheaded. I was so happy, I nearly started crying. It was emotional. But I did it!! And in 56 days, I can do it again if I want!!

I think I have conquered that irrational fear. Two c-sections, mulitple vaccinations, and countless blood draws later, I'm a little more comfortable around needles. They still aren't my favourite thing, but I get that it's a means to an end, and a very important end. And if that's what I have to do to donate blood, then I think I will be able to handle it again!!

The rest of the day, I was just beaming with excitement. I still can't believe it. I'm so happy. I feel that I need to give back. I want to know that some other parent out there has their child because someone took the time to donate. It's so simple and really takes very little time. And in the end, if someone you loved needed blood, wouldn't you want to know that someone took the time to donate? So, please, if you can, take the time and donate, it really does save lives!!

1 comment:

Claudia said...

Very well done Sharon - I am the same as you (low iron, low blood pressure, very chicken with the whole needles thing) and haven't ever DARED donate blood. I passed out on every single blood test I had during both pregnancies and absolutely hated having the IV inserted during both c-sections... so I'm chicken.

But you've made me think that this is important and something simple to do. You are very brave and I promise that one day soon I will find guts from somewhere and do this too! You've inspired me.